As you shelter in place, but long for the barre, there are a lot of great documentaries, shows and movies available to watch that will help you get your dancing fix until the studios open back up again.  Here’s a quick selection of some of the ones we’re loving now.

Modern Ballet Movies and TV Shows To Binge Right Now

Restless Creature, documentary, 2017  (Netflix)

This poignant, yet energetic film portrays Wendy Whelan as she prepares to retire after 30 years at New York City Ballet as a principal dancer. The passion and the love for ballet war with her aging dancer’s body and shows how difficult it is to give up a life’s passion.

A Ballerina’s Tale, documentary, 2015 (Netflix)

A Ballerina’s Tale depicts the meteoric rise of Misty Copeland, just before she was promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.

First Position, documentary, 2011  (iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies)

The Youth America Grand Prix competition is a make or break moment for these young dancers .  The results of this competition could determine the track their dance careers take, for better or worse.

Breaking Pointe, TV series, 2012-2012 (Amazon Pay)

Invest in the lives, and the successes and failures, of the dancers at Ballet West in Salt Lake City.  It explores both  the drama of the troupe from a professional standpoint, but also the personal stories and conflicts behind the scenes.

Black Swan, movie, 2010 (HBO)

An instant dance classic, the beauty and intensity of the dancing coupled with a dark, psychologically convoluted plot, makes it worth many watchings.

Leap, animated film, 2016 (Netflix)

While flawed in its execution, it still is a lighthearted, escapist ballet fantasy, featuring the joy of, passion for and love of dance.

Ballet 422, documentary, 2014, (Amazon Pay)

Behind the scenes at New York City Ballet as upcoming choreographer stages a 422, the ballet’s original piece. A rare look at the development, training and execution of a new piece of work at a major dance company.

Bunheads, TV series, 2012-2013 (Hulu)

This charming ABC Family series centered around a dance studio, the family who runs it and the dance students that attend, it’s charming, slightly screwball comedy fun.

High Strung, movie, 2016, (Netflix)

A romantic comedy set against a backdrop of New York City, sparks fly as violinist and a ballerina prepare for a competition.

Tutu Much, documentary, 2013 (Amazon Pay, iTunes)

Following nine young, aspiring dancers as they participate in a four week long audition to join the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Summer School Program, this behind the scenes documentary delves into the conflicts shows young dancers have to make, in their personal lives and in dance, and future of their dreams of a professional career.

Ballet Now, documentary, 2018 (Hulu)

New York City Ballet Prima Ballerina Tiller Peck was the first woman asked to curate the world renowned BalletNOW program at The Music Center. The film follows the challenges she faces in executing her wide-ranging, unique vision of dance.

White Crow, film, 2018 (Amazon Pay)

This true-story dramatic account follows dancer Rudolf Nureyev life and career, from his early days as a young, up-and-coming dancer in Russia to his defection to the United States.

Yuli, film, 2018  (foreign language) (HBO)

A docudrama, Yuli portrays the life of Carlos Acosta, a Cuban dancer who went on to be one of the first black dancer to perform some of the most well known and beloved classical ballet roles.

Dancer, documentary, 2016 (Hulu)

The youngest principal dancer ever at the Royal Ballet in 2010 at the age of 20, Ukrainian Sergei Polunin Became known as the “bad boy of dance.” The documentary follows his decision, two years later, to walk away from it all and leave his traditional classical career behind and reassess his commitment to ballet.

Agony and Ecstasy A Year with English National Ballet, TV documentary, 2011 (YouTube)

This three part series looks at a year with the English National Ballet as they put on Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, the Nutcracker and more. A BBC Four production from the U.K., some episodes are hard to find in the U.S. but the series shows the complexities that a ballet company, both the dancers and the staff, have to face.

And Then We Danced, film, 2019 (foreign language) *

A Spotlight Selection at Cannes 2019 and A Film Comment at Sundance 2019, this foreign film depicts the characters’ passion for dance, and forbidden love, as it conflicts with the strict rules of modern Georgian society.
* The film released February 7, 2020 in the US, but should be released for on-demand viewing shortly.

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